Monday, December 9, 2013

Karoo Bathtime, by Sinclair Beiles

In the Karoo we had a bath.
If you wanted warm water
You had to take The Farmer's Weekly
To the bath with you
And when you read it the water got warm.
You had to be sure it was the latest copy.
O yes the Karoo is full of miracles.
Take the Spring for instance.
In the Spring the desert is a myriad of flowers
And if you fill your bath with desert flowers
And get in with The Farmer's Weekly
You turn into a faun
And you can get a job with the ballet in Cape Town.

(From Dowsings, Victor Sega, Johannesburg, 1979) 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Loss of face, by Sinclair Beiles

the time came for the bridegroom
to kiss the bride.
when they pulled apart
the bridegroom was munching
and the bride was seen to have no face.

(published in 20 Poems, privately printed, 1980)

Richard Wright, haiku and Sinclair Beiles

"In 1959, he (Richard Wright) was introduced to haiku by Sinclair Beiles , a young South African poet who loved its form. Beiles was living in Paris and associating with other poets of the 'Beat generation' such as Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs and Gary Snyder. Beiles's and the Beat poets' interest in Zen led Wright to the knowledge of haiku. Because the Beat Hotel was in the Latin Quarter and Wright lived very close to the hotel, Wright often frequented the hotel bar....Wright borrowed, from Sinclair Beiles,  RH Blyth's four volumes on the art and history of the haiku and its relationship to Zen philosophy and settled down to rediscover his old dream of oneness with life..."

(from The Richard Wright Encyclopedia,  Jerry W Ward, Robert J Butler)   

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The child in the corner, by Sinclair Beiles

there is a child in the corner.
cobwebs cover it
and it is so white.
the other children have been playing
outside for years,
but all it can do is thump its little chest.
its mother is holding a tea party on the verandah.

(from 20 Poems, privately published, 1980)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Yannis Livadas on Sinclair Beiles

‘I believe Beiles was an extraordinary poet. One of the masters of the last century; and one of the most tragically unappreciated. Possibly because of his mastery, because of his holy shadow which danced only to its own tambourine.

‘When creativity and pathos were coming down from the heavens like an acid rain, Beiles was walking his lonesome road soaked to the skin. That's it, that was and that will ever be. 

‘I have no intention of ruining Sinclair Beiles's memory with a special essay on his tremendous work; he simply does not need it. If you are able to read him someday, you will also understand. Everything you may need is there. For sure.’ 

‒ from ‘Sinclair Beiles: a way of committing poetry’, Bone Hebrew, published by Cold Turkey Press, France, 2012.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

At the time of the Christmas cut sales

At the time of the Christmas cut sales
Slash, in red, screamed at an angle
Across the shopwindows behind which lifelike puppets sat
Made festive with glitter and tinsel.
Overnight to everyone's amazement the puppets changed their price tags
And no-one could afford to buy them.
The tinsel and glitter turned into a kind of camouflage.
From their pulpits priests announced that infant Christ
Had thrown an elaborate tantrum
And was spoiling Christmas.
Many Worlds shut down.
All that was left was printer's ink
For fingerprints.
This year many martyrs were manufactured
Not for export.
The electricity bills at police stations increased unaccountably.

Published in Quarry '78-'79: New South African Writing   

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

On the ninth floor

On the ninth floor
it was on the ninth floor where they plotted
on the ninth floor
the top of the Baobab Hotel
where the gleaming razors were passed out
to the blackfaced maids
from the ninth floor from the ninth
they descended when dawn was lifting its coffin lid
every throat was slit
from the ninth floor
they walked with silent smiles to the suburbs
they scattered
they threw off their clothes
and leaped into the swimming-pools
from the ninth floor Christ descended
and blessed them with his sword.

Published in Quarry '78-'79: New South African Writing

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Michael Adamis - Sinclair Beiles: collaboration on Genesis

Sinclair Beiles: "(I wrote a) choral drama called Genesis, which I did with the Greek composer Micheal Adamis, which was originally performed at the Athens festival, which is the largest cultural festival in the world. The text was a cut-up which I used from a book on water, and after the cut-up, the text began to look like the story of a rise and fall of a civilisation. I wanted to have it performed here (in Johannesburg), but the arsehole I spoke to said no, because it was written in Greek. I objected, saying that it had been performed in Japan, to which he replied 'That’s different'.

(Sinclair Beiles interviewed by Gary Cummiskey, 1994, included in Who was Sinclair Beiles?, edited by Gary Cummiskey and Eva Kowalska, Dye Hard Press, 2009). 

You can read more about Beiles's Genesis collaboration with Michael Adamis here

Sunday, May 5, 2013

A review of Who was Sinclair Beiles?

Before I opened Dye Hard Press‘ new volume, its title, Who was Sinclair Beiles? was a question I certainly didn’t know the answer to. His is a name I’ve occasionally come across, as a poet who, as a resident of Paris’ famous “Beat Hotel,” created cut-ups with William S. Burroughs, Brion Gysin, and Gregory Corso, and helped to edit Naked Lunch and as a resident of the famed “Beat Hotel” in Paris. But there’s where my knowledge stopped.

Gary Cummiskey and Eva Kowalska have brought together a collection of eleven essays and interviews which address the question, “Who Was Sinclair Beiles?” from multiple angles...Read more here

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Gossip Column - a cut-up by Anne Rooney and Sinclair Beiles

Found in a drawer 44 years later, this cut-up first appeared in Jan Herman's arts blog Straight Up.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

In Bone Hebrew, the White Kaffir speaks

A long-awaited copy of Bone Hebrew from Cold Turkey Press showed up in my mailbox. The title is taken from Paul Celan. The cover is by Antonin Artaud. The poems are by Sinclair Beiles. Here are two of more here 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Bone Hebrew, published by Cold Turkey Press

Bone Hebrew is a special limited edition book of 76 pages with texts on Sinclair Beiles by Gerard Bellaart, Heathcote Williams, Lilian Lijn and Yannis Livadas, plus an interview with Sinclair by Michael Butterworth, portions of Gerard Bellaart's correspondence with the poet, sketches, drawings and a selection of rare poems by Sinclair Beiles. Published by Cold Turkey Press, France.
Cover painting by Antonin Artaud.
Edited by Gerard Bellaart.
Book orders at:

Feedback on Bone Hebrew

What a fine book. The finest. And what a selfless service you've performed. I never told you this but I remembered as I turned the book's pages that, of course, you were the one person that Sinclair always spoke of with an uncritical glow. The man who was invigilating a great renaissance in Rotterdam was I think  how he first spoke of you. You've done him proud. The book's a great prize to have and to hold.    Heathcote Wiliams

dear gerard -- bone hebrew arrived an hour ago. it is magnificent! absolutely stunning. just finished reading Liliane Lijn's memory piece. I couldn't stop. i read the letter to Heathcote, too. and your own sweet poem. i am green with envy. your own "profoundest care" comes through in every page. I love the "look" of the book as much as the content. i haven't finished reading  the rest of the book. felt the need to msg you immediately. i want to go back to the beginning of the book and read straight thru without jumping around. God, I feel lucky.  Jan Herman

Dear Gerard, I'm really enjoying Bone Hebrew. The essays and memoirs really help round out a good portrait of a great poet. Do you have any other collections of Sinclair's poetry still in stock somewhere? I need to read more. You've done a great job with Bone Hebrew, and a great service to Sinclair. Thanks and cheers. Mark Terrill  

Sinclair Beiles, 1969

Courtesy: Cold Turkey Press. This photo is used as the frontpiece in Bone Hebrew, an appreciation of Sinclair Beiles, published by Cold Turkey Press, France.

Sinclair Beiles at the wedding of Michael and Pam Alamaz, England, 1970s

Photos: Sally Willis and Pam Almaz